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Is Science Neurotic?

Maxwell, N; (2002) Is Science Neurotic? Metaphilosophy , 33 (3) 259 - 299. 10.1111/1467-9973.00228. Green open access

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Abstract

Neurosis can be interpreted as a methodological condition which any aim-pursuing entity can suffer from. If such an entity pursues a problematic aim B, represents to itself that it is pursuing a different aim C, and as a result fails to solve the problems associated with B which, if solved, would lead to the pursuit of aim A, then the entity may be said to be "rationalistically neurotic". Natural science is neurotic in this sense in so far as a basic aim of science is represented to be to improve knowledge of factual truth as such (aim C), when actually the aim of science is to improve knowledge of explanatory truth (aim B). Science does not suffer too much from this neurosis, but philosophy of science does. Much more serious is the rationalistic neurosis of the social sciences, and of academic inquiry more generally. Freeing social science and academic inquiry from neurosis would have far reaching, beneficial, intellectual, institutional and cultural consequences.

Type: Article
Title: Is Science Neurotic?
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9973.00228
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9973.00228
Language: English
Additional information: The definitive version is available at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/
Keywords: Scientific method, rationalistic neurosis, metaphysics, values, politics, academic inquiry, social science, wisdom
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Science and Technology Studies
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/105648
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